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Thanks, Mom

Scholarship recognizes matriarch Madam Ajara’s devotion to education

Chief Felicia Ajara Atsegbua Dikko

Clement Osimetha’s journey from humble beginnings in Nigeria to respected corporate attorney represents the textbook American success story. And he owes it all to his mother.

“If not for her influence, there would be no career success,” the 1992 UT Arlington finance graduate says. “That goes for my brothers and sisters as well.”

To honor their mother on her 75th birthday, Osimetha and his six siblings established the Chief Felicia Ajara Atsegbua Dikko Endowed Scholarship in the College of Business. The scholarship supports students who have received all or part of their pre-college education in Nigeria.

Chief Dikko, or Madam Ajara, as Osimetha’s mother is affectionately known, had no formal schooling. Yet she owned and operated several small businesses as a single mother in Nigeria.

“She was quite an enterprising person,” Osimetha says of his mom, who now lives in Arlington. “She was a strong woman, and people looked up to her.”

As an attorney with Axiom, Osimetha serves as general counsel to DPT Laboratories, Ltd., a contract manufacturing pharmaceutical organization. He oversees all major legal matters related to the company’s business activities.

He is a member of the executive board of SMU’s Dedman School of Law, where he graduated in 1995, and serves on the board of directors of the African American Repertory Theater. He served consecutive three-year terms on the State of Texas Board of Disciplinary Appeals, appointed by the Texas Supreme Court.

Chief Dikko’s passion for education still resonates with her children, all of whom attended college.

“To have the foresight that we should all go to school is remarkable,” Osimetha says. “She was very smart and forward thinking to know that education was the best way out of our circumstances at the time.”